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'Inspirational' Church of Ireland cleric dies aged 100

By Brett Campbell

Tributes have been paid following the death of a Church of Ireland clergyman at the age of 100.

The Rev Canon Herbert Aubrey Hamilton Northridge passed away peacefully on New Year's Eve in his residential care home - six months after he turned 100.

He will be buried today after a funeral service in Co Fermanagh.

The former Rector of Derg and Termonamongan had been ordained for 75 years when he died.

Born in Dublin in June 1916 while his father - Rev Robert Northridge - served in St Andrews Church on Suffolk Street, the cleric went on to be a curate in 1941 at Christ Church in Londonderry before becoming a rector.

Canon Northridge served as a rector for 31 years, first in Convoy, Co Donegal, and subsequently in Derg and Termonamongan until his retirement.

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good, told the Belfast Telegraph: "Here in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe we have been greatly saddened to learn of the death of Canon Aubrey Northridge,in his 101st year.

"The son of a clergyman, Aubrey has been a great inspiration to us all, with his positive, active and faithful approach to life.

"He was blessed by his long and happy marriage to Moyra, who predeceased him 20 years ago, and by the love and support of their five children.

"I offer my prayers and sympathy to his family."

The clergyman, who was the last surviving member of a family of 10, was a much loved father to Robert, John, Jean (Persson) and Barbara (Fennell) and was also a grandfather and great-grandfather.

Following his retirement in 1981 he moved to Fermanagh and spent his latter years being cared for at the Tilery Nursing Home in Enniskillen.

Aside from his Church duties the canon was an active nature lover who loved to fish on the banks of Lough Erne.

A keen gardener and former chairman of the Fermanagh Gardening Society, he also had a passion for beekeeping which started in childhood and spanned well into his 80s. He maintained his love of gardening until he died.

In a tribute to him, Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Rev. John McDowell, described him as "a clergyman to his fingertips" whose devotion to God and the Church was expressed with "untiring pastoral care".

He told The Impartial Reporter: "He will be remembered by his clerical colleagues as a man of immense good humour and common sense and by his parishioners as a forthright friend and shepherd."

Rev Canon Aubrey's funeral will be held at 2pm this afternoon at the Priory Church in Killadeas followed by burial in the adjoining churchyard.

There will be family flowers only with donations in lieu, if desired, to the Bishops Appeal and Cancer Research NI, care of WT Morrison Funeral Directors in Enniskillen.

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